The American Hospital Association's Board of Trustees in July elected Benjamin K. Chu, M.D., as its chair-elect designate. Chu is group president, Southern California and Hawaii, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan in Pasadena, Calif. Chu will assume the chairmanship in 2013.

Chu oversees 14 hospitals and 168 medical offices serving more than 3.6 million of Kaiser Permanente's 8.8 million members. He was appointed regional president of Kaiser Permanente Southern California in 2005. In 2011, he was appointed group president with additional accountability for Kaiser Permanente's Hawaii region.

"It is my privilege to serve in this role at this important time," Chu said when his selection was announced. "Health care is at a crossroads, and hospitals will play an important role in improving the health of America."

Chu served for three years as president of New York City's Health and Hospitals Corporation, the largest public hospital system in the country. He was senior vice president for medical and professional affairs for the public hospitals from 1990 to 1994, as well as acting commissioner of health for the New York City Department of Health.

A primary internist by training, Chu also has experience with academic medical centers. He was senior associate dean at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and associate dean and vice president for clinical affairs at the New York University School of Medicine and Medical Center. He was a 1989-1990 Robert Wood Johnson policy fellow, serving as legislative assistant for health for Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.).

Chu serves on the board of the Commonwealth Fund in New York and chairs the board of the American Legacy Foundation. He is a former board member of the AHA, serving on its executive committee in 2008. He is an AHA representative to the Joint Commission's board.

Chu earned his medical degree at New York University, his master's of public health from Columbia University, and a bachelor's degree in psychology from Yale University.